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Author Topic: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?  (Read 9356 times)

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Azenilto Brito

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The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?

       In different places in this last Proclamation! issue there are references to our position on the conditional immortality, sometimes referred to as “soul sleep”, even though there is no “soul” to “sleep”, to begin with. We don’t think of a “soul” like a type of built-in ‘friendly ghost’ in man. “Soul” and “spirit” have a large variety of meanings in the Bible but these two words NEVER appear modified by adjectives such as “eternal”, “immortal”, “unending”, for the great disappointment of those who imagine that to be a Biblical doctrine, when it actually derives from paganism and serves no purpose in bringing people closer to Jesus.
       Besides, even though the conditional immortality question is presented as if it were a sort of Adventist oddity, the truth is that more and more scholars of different persuasions have been accepting lately the holistic view of man’s nature and destiny, leaving behind these dualistic notions, to not mention the many along history who were also true believers in conditional immortality.
       Recently I learned that the Brazilian Lutherans have instructional material teaching against the immortality of the soul idea, and Lutherans pastors that I contacted confirmed to me their holistic position, one of them even producing an article that I posted in some forums I participate of in the Portuguese language. I sent them some of my studies on the subject and they were pleased with the material and much grateful for my sending them.
       They are certainly recovering some of  Martin Luther’s statements condemning the idea of immortality of the soul as a despicable junk from Catholicism that should be discarded. Although Luther was not always consistent regarding this point (as regarding some others), the fact is that not only him, but important and reputed Christian men along history, including Bible translators Tyndale, Moffatt and Weymouth, English poet John Milton, politician and theologian William Gladstone, and the more recent Oscar Cullman, John Stott, Clark Pinnock, Paul Althaus, Karl Barth, Emil Brunner identified themselves as anti-immortality of the soul understanding adherents.
       According to Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, who authored a magnificent work on the subject that I highly recommend to all, Immortality or Resurrection? [and the following text is from one of his Newsletters, which I reproduce ipsis verbis] this historical view of death as the separation of the soul from the body has come under a massive attack by many modern scholars. A few examples suffice to illustrate this point. Lutheran theologian Paul Althaus writes: “Death is more than a departure of the soul from the body. The person, body and soul, is involved in death. . . . The Christian faith knows nothing about an immortality of the personality. . . . It knows only an awakening from real death through the power of God. There is existence after death only by an awakening of the resurrection of the whole person.”
       Althaus argues that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul does not do justice to the seriousness of death, since the soul passes through death unscathed. Moreover, the notion that a person can be totally happy and blessed without the body denies the significance of the body and empties the resurrection of its meaning. If believers are already blessed in heaven and the wicked are already tormented in hell, why is the final judgment still necessary? Althaus concludes that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul rips apart what belongs together: the body and the soul, the destiny of the individual and that of the world.
       In his monograph Life after Death, Taito Kantonen makes this pointed statement: “The Christian view of death is in full accord with the view of natural science as far as the latter goes. When we die we are really dead. Our hopes and desires cannot change this fact. Man does not differ from the rest of creation by having a soul that cannot die.”
       Even the liberal Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, in its article on death explicitly states: “The ‘departure’ of the nephesh [soul] must be viewed as a figure of speech, for it does not continue to exist independently of the body, but dies with it (Num 31:19; Jud 16:30; Ez 13:19). No Biblical text authorizes the statement that the ‘soul’ is separated from the body at the moment of death. The ruach [spirit] which makes man a living being (cf. Gen 2:7), and which he loses at death, is not, properly speaking, an anthropological reality, but a gift of God which returns to him at the time of death (Eccl 12:7).”
       This challenge of modern scholarship to the traditional view of death as the separation of the soul from the body has been long overdue. It is hard to believe that for most of its history, Christianity by and large has held to a view of human death and destiny which has been largely influenced by Greek thought, rather than by the teachings of Scripture. What is even more surprising is that no amount of Biblical scholarship will change the traditional belief held by most churches on the intermediate state. The reason is simple. While individual scholars can and will change their doctrinal views without suffering devastating consequences, the same is not true for well-established churches.
       A church that introduces radical changes in its historical doctrinal beliefs undermines the faith of its members and thus the stability of the institution. A case in point is the Worldwide Church of God which lost over half of its members when doctrinal changes were introduced by its leaders early in 1995. The high cost of rectifying denominational religious beliefs should not deter Bible-believing Christians who are committed, not to preserve traditional beliefs for tradition’s sake, but to constantly seek for a fuller understanding of the teachings of Word of God on issues relevant to their lives.
       Now, let’s see some of the many faithful Christian and Bible scholars who have manifested themselves against this dualistic theology, beginning in the next thread.

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Azenilto Brito

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CONDITIONAL IMMORTALITY – A HALL OF ADVOCATES

       What happens with man when, as he dies, cuts definitively contact with the world? Does he go to heaven to enjoy immediately an assured immortality? Does he remain during a period of waiting time somewhere in the universe? Is he thrown into an eternally burning hell to suffer indescribable agonies throughout eternity?
       There are bishops, pastors, Bible translators, theologians and intellectuals and many others throughout the centuries who, searching for answers in the vast biblical repertoire, advocate the condition of unconsciousness during death and the concession of immortality as a faith reward, granted exclusively through Christ at the resurrection of God’s elects. These scholars belong to varied denominations, but they have in common the accurate analysis of the Bible texts that reveal the condition of man in death. They showed disposition to accept this revelation as sufficient in this important theological subject. Following are the statements on this theme drawn from divers sources.


Nicolas, Greek bishop, (2nd Century AD):

“When any created being is eternal, that is not by himself, nor in himself, nor to himself, but by God’s goodness; for everything that is made and created has a beginning and maintains its existence solely through the Creator’s goodness.” – Quoted in Compendium of the History of Doctrines, vol. 2, pp. 4 e 5.

The Waldenses (15th Century) contested the doctrine of purgatory and intercession of the saints, teaching in their catechism of instruction to the young people that man is only “mortal”. - Moreland, The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of the Piedmont, 1658, p. 75.

Pietro Poponatius, of Mantua, noted Italian professor and leader among the Averrorists (who denied the immortality of the soul), issued a book in opposition of Pope Leo X’s bull that declared: “We do condemn and reprobate all who assert that the intelligent soul is mortal” (quoted by H. J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, 1937, pp. 483, 487—as quoted in Questions on Doctrines, p. 569). As a result of his book, widely read, especially in Italian universities, he was haled before the Inquisition and his book publicly burned in Venice.

Martin Luther (1493-1546), German reformer and Bible translator:

In his 1520 Defence with 41 propositions, Luther refers to the belief of immortality of the soul, along other papal teachings, as “monstrous opinions to be found in the Roman dunghill of decretals (Proposition 27).

“Salomon iudgeth that the dead are a sleepe, and feele nothing at all. For the dead lye there accompting neyther dayes nor yeares, but wen they are awaked, they shall seeme to haue slept scarce one minute”. – An Exposition of Solomon’s Book, Called Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, 1573, fl. 151 v.

“But we Christians, who have been redeemed from all this through the precious blood of God’s son, should train and accustom ourselves in faith to despise death and regard it as a deep, strong, sweet sleep; to consider the coffin as nothing other than our Lord Jesus’ bosom or Paradise, the grave as nothing other than a soft couch of ease or rest. As verily, before God, it truly is just this; for he testifies, John 11:11: Lazarus, our friend sleeps; Matthew 9:24: The maiden is not dead, she sleeps. Thus, too, St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, removes from sight all hateful aspects of death as related to our mortal body and brings forward nothing but charming and joyful aspects of the promised life.”- Works of Luther, vol. 6, pp. 287 e 288.

William Tyndale (1484-1536), English Bible translator and martyr:

“And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection. . .  . And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?”

“I marvel that Paul had not comforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had wist it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection, that their dead should rise again. If the souls be in heaven, in as great glory as the angels, after your doctrine, shew me what cause should be of the resurrection? – An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, liv. 4, cap. 4, pp. 180 e 181.

John Milton (1608-1674), considered the greatest of the sacred poets, Latin secretary of Cromwell:

“Inasmuch then as the whole man is uniformly said to consist of body, and soul (whatever may be the distinct provinces assigned to these divisions), I will show, that in death, first, the whole man, and secondly, each component part, suffers privation of life. . . . The grave is the common guardian of all till the day of judgment.” – Treatise of Christian Doctrine, vol. 1, cap. 13.

William E. Gladstone (1809-1898), British prime minister and theologian

“Another consideration of the highest importance is that the natural immortality of the soul is a doctrine wholly unknown to the Holy Scriptures, and standing on no higher plane than that of an ingeniously sustained, but gravely and formidably contested, philosophical opinion.” – Studies Subsidiary to the Works of Bishop Butler (1896 ed.), p. 197.
“The character of the Almighty is rendered liable to charges which cannot be repelled so long as the idea remains that there may by His ordinance be such a thing as never-ending punishment, but that it will have been sufficiently vindicated at the bar of human judgment, so soon as it has been established and allowed that punishment, whatever else it may be, cannot be never-ending.” – Ibid. , p. 241.

Edward White (1819-1887), congregational, president of the Congregationalist Union:

“I steadfastly maintain, after forty years of study of the matter, that it is the notion of the infliction of a torment in body and soul that shall be absolutely endless, which alone gives a foot of standing ground to Ingersoll in America, or Bradlaugh in England [both militant atheists]. I believe more firmly than ever that it is a doctrine as contrary to every line of the Bible as it is contrary to every moral instinct of humanity.” – Introduction to the book The Unspeakable Gift, by J. H. Pettingell, p. 22.

J. Agar Beet (1840-1924), Wesleyan professor:

“The following pages are . . . a protest against a doctrine which, during long centuries, has been almost universally accepted as divine truth taught in the Bible, but which seems to me altogether alien to it in both phrase and thought, and derived only from Greek Philosophy. Until recent times, this alien doctrine has been comparatively harmless. But, as I have here shown, it is now producing most serious results. . . .
“They who claim for their teaching the authority of God must prove that it comes from Him. Such proof in this case, I have never seen.” – The Immortality of Soul, 5th ed., 1902, Preface.

Franz Deliztsch (1813-1890), Hebraist, professor, Rostock, Erlangen, Leipsic.

“There is nothing in all the Bible which implies a native immortality.” (Comment on Gen. 3:22).
“From the Biblical point of view the soul can be put to death, it is mortal.” (Comment on Num. 23:10). – A New Commentary on Genesis.

 George Dana Boardman (1828-1903), Baptist pastor, founder of the Boardman Foundation of Christian Ethics, University of Pennsylvania:

“Not a single passage of Holy Writ, from Genesis to Revelation, teaches, so far as I am aware, the doctrine of Man’s natural immortality. On the other hand, Holy Writ emphatically declares that God only hath immortality (1 Tim. 6:16): that is to say: God alone is naturally, inherently, in His own essence and nature, immortal.” – Studies in the Creative Week, pp. 215 e 216.

F. R. Weymouth (1822-1902), translator of New Testament in Modern Speech:

“My mind fails to conceive a grosser misrepresentation of language than when five or six of the strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying to destroy or destruction, are explained to mean ‘maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence’.”– Quoted by Edward White in Life in Christ (1878), p. 365.

 “The use in the N.T. of such words as ‘death,’ ‘destruction,’ ‘fire,’ ‘perish,’ to describe Future Retribution, point to the likelihood of fearful anguish, followed by extinction of being, as the doom which awaits those who by persistent rejection of the Saviour prove themselves utterly, and therefore irremediably, bad.” (Comment on Hebrews 9:28) – New Testament in Modern Speech.

 William Temple (1881-1944), Late Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of Great Britain:

“[The] doctrine of the future life [will] involve our first disentangling the authentic teaching of the classical Scriptures from accretions which very quickly began to obscure this.” – Nature, Man and God, p. 460.

Martin J. Heinecken, professor of systematic theology, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia:

“In the Biblical account of creation we are told that God formed man of the dust and of the earth, and that he then breathed into his nostrils and man became a living soul. This is usually interpreted to mean that God made a soul, which is the real person, and that he then gave this soul a temporary home in a body, made of the dust of the earth. But this is a false dualism. . . . Man must be considered a unity.” – Basic Christian Teachings, pp. 36 e 37.

 Emil Brunner (1889-1966), professor of systematic theology and practical theology, Zurich, guest professor at Princeton, and International Christian University of Tokyo.

“The opinion that we men are immortal because our soul is of an indestructible, because divine, essence is, once for all, irreconcilable with the Biblical view of God and man. . . . The philosophical belief in immortality is like an echo, both reproducing and falsifying the primal Word of this divine Creator. It is false because it does not take into account the real loss of this original destiny through sin.” – Eternal Hope, pp. 105, 106 e 107.

  Dr. Basil F. C. Atkinson, under-librarian of Cambridge University:

“The breath of life was not breathed into man’s heart, but into his nostrils. It involved physical life. Throughout the Bible man, apart from Christ, is conceived of as made of dust and ashes, a physical creature, to whom is lent by god a principle of life. The Greek thinkers tended to think of man as an immortal soul imprisoned in a body. This emphasis is the opposite to that of the Bible, but has found a wide place in Christian thought.” – The Pocket Commentary of the Bible, Part 1, Book of Genesis, p. 32.


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JohnH

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Outstanding collection!
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Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper. -- 2 Chronicles 20:20

RND

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    • You are Israel

Outstanding collection!

Hello John and welcome to the forum!

Here is a link to an excellent book by universalist (true) pastor and author Thomas Thayer.

THE
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
OF THE
Doctrine of Endless Punishment

BY
THOMAS B. THAYER


To me, it is remarkable how much of Thayer's views were in harmony with, and reflected the teachings and writtings of the SOP. Hope you enjoy the history lesson Thayer provides. God Bless!
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All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 - 1860)

Azenilto Brito

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Helo friends

       This "outstanding collection" was in fact taken from an SDA book of great importance in the past, Questions on Doctrines, which some people don't like (those who adopted the "perfectionistic" view). If you browse said work, from page 567 on, will find many more. . .


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JohnH

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Well how about that.  It just points up one of Satan's favorite methods, namely mixing truth with error so as to make the latter harder to detect.  QOD has some deadly error w/r/t the sanctuary, atonement, and human nature of Christ.
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Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper. -- 2 Chronicles 20:20

Johann

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Well how about that.  It just points up one of Satan's favorite methods, namely mixing truth with error so as to make the latter harder to detect.  QOD has some deadly error w/r/t the sanctuary, atonement, and human nature of Christ.

Who has convinced you of that, my friend? Have you read the book yourself? I was attending the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at the time this book was written - more than 50 years ago - and I heard many of the pros and cons. Based on that it was very illuminating to read the book itself to see if all that was claimed about it was true. Were they all being true and honest?
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2008, 05:24:30 PM »


“Regular” Christians Harboring “Irregular” Ideas

       Proclamation! magazine, in its July/August issue, decided to discuss in detail the nature of man issue. Editor Colleen Tinker illustrates the “comfort” she got in renouncing to SDA “soul sleep” doctrine in the face of her father’s death, thinking how good that he is in heaven now, as any “regular” Christian (in her own words), would teach. Nothing to do with waiting for the resurrection in the tomb, as this strange and unique SDA doctrine has it.
       First, it is amazing how those who leave us so soon acquire the questionable labeling and distorted description of our teachings, adopting the same language of those who oppose us, but which DON’T CORRESPOND TO THE REAL FACTS. Seventh-day Adventists DON’T teach any “soul sleep” doctrine, and she should know better. So, this distortion of our teachings is just the beginning of so many other similar ones along the magazine.
       It is interesting to read about “regular” Christian, with the quote marks by her. Why did she put the “x” referring to ‘regular’? Probably it is because she doesn’t feel very secure in determining what a “regular” Christian is, after all, as she contacts so many different branches and currents, and interpretations, and worldviews, and internal divisions in the Evangelical field. Is a Pentecostal, who defends fiercely the speaking in tongues, a “regular” Christian in her view? And how about those who teach the election of just a few for salvation, as God decreed they were the chosen ones, while all the others end up in the bottomless pit of brimstone and fire, with their bodies and souls suffering there for evermore, unlucky as they were for not deserving God’s selection? And what to say regarding the ones who baptize babies, which is frowned upon by others who don’t agree with infant baptism? And, speaking of baptism, there are those who do it just by immersion, criticizing churches that adopt aspersion, or sprinkling. Are they both “regular” Christians? And those who teach the secret rapture, disputed by others who have a different eschatological perspective? Finally, how about those who adopt homosexuals in the regular Church life as a valid option for their lives, allowing them even to reach the ministry? Would that qualify as “regular” Christians?
       Anyway, she then quotes two texts totally out of their due context, but later on we will discuss in greater detail the implications of this false doctrine of immortality of the soul. By the way, these folks seems to ignore totally that it has been more and more discarded by important Bible scholars in the Protestant (even Catholic) fields.
       Let’s see how Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, who is the author of Immortality or Resurrection?, a book highly considered by scholars of different persuasions, mentions this fact:

Dualistic View of Human Nature is Under Massive Attacks

       The Biblical view of human nature and destiny has attracted considerable scholarly attention in recent years. Leading scholars of different religious persuasions have addressed this question in articles and books.  A survey of the studies produced during the last fifty years or so, reveals that the traditional dualistic view of human nature has come under massive attack.
       Scholars seem to outdo one another in challenging traditional dualism and in affirming Biblical wholism.  Reading the scholarly literature in this field, one almost gets the impression that Christianity is coming out of a stupor and is suddenly discovering that for too long it has held to a view of human nature derived from Platonic dualism rather than from Biblical wholism.
       . . . our fundamental Adventist belief in the unconscious state of the dead, is finally being accepted as a biblical teaching by numerous Bible scholars of different persuasions.  Somebody counted over 400 scholars cited in my book. They include such well known scholars as George Eldon Ladd, Oscar Culmann, John R, Stott, and Clark Pinnock. (. . .)
         
The Body-Soul Debate

       The belief in conscious life after death is propagated today in sophisticated ways through mediums, psychics, “scientific” research into near-death experiences, and New Age channeling with the spirits of the past. The outcome of all of this is that the body-soul question is attracting unprecedented attention even in the scholarly community. A survey of the scholarly literature produced in recent years clearly shows that this question is being hotly debated by leading scholars of different religious persuasions.
       The central issue is whether the soul can survive and function apart from the body. In other words, is human nature so constituted that at death the soul, that is, the conscious part, leaves the body and continues to exist while its “container” disintegrates?  Traditionally, the vast majority of Christians have answered this question in the affirmative.  They have believed that between death and the final resurrection of the body, God preserves the existence of their human disembodied souls.  At the resurrection, their material bodies are reunited with their spiritual souls, thus intensifying the pleasure of paradise or the pain of hell.
       This traditional and popular view has come under massive attack in recent years. An increasing number of leading evangelical scholars are abandoning the classical, dualistic view of human nature which sees the body as mortal, belonging to the lower world of nature, and the soul as immortal, belonging to the spiritual realm and surviving the death of the body.  Instead, they are accepting the Biblical wholistic view of human nature in which the whole person, body and soul, experiences death and resurrection. 
       Several factors have contributed to the abandonment of the classical dualism on the part of many scholars. One of them  is a renewed study of the Biblical view of human nature. A close examination of the basic Biblical terms used for man (body, soul, spirit, flesh, mind, and heart)  has led many scholars to recognize that these do not indicate independent components, but the whole person seen from different view points.  “Recent scholarship has recognized,”  writes  Eldon Ladd, “that  such terms as body, soul, and spirit are not different, separable faculties of man but different ways of viewing the whole man.”
       Virtually any part of the body can be used in the Bible to represent the whole human being. There is no dichotomy between a mortal body and an immortal soul that survives and functions apart from the body.  Both body and soul, flesh and spirit in the Bible are part of the same person and do not “come apart” at death.
   
Dualism under Attack

       Numerous Biblical scholars in recent times have argued that Old and New Testament writers do not operate with a dualistic view of human nature, but with a monistic or wholistic one.  The outcome of these studies is that many today are questioning or even rejecting the notion that Scripture teaches the existence of souls apart from bodies after death.
       Church historians support these conclusions by claiming that a dualistic view of human nature and the belief in the survival of disembodied souls were brought into the Christianity by Church Fathers who were influenced by Plato’s dualistic philosophy.  This explains why these beliefs became widely accepted in the Christian church even though they are foreign to the teachings of the Bible.
       Philosophers and scientists also have contributed to the massive assault against the traditional dualistic view of human nature. Philosophers have attacked traditional arguments that the soul is an immortal substance that survives the death of the body. They have proposed alternative theories according to which the soul is an aspect of the human body and not a separate component.

[To be continued in the next frames]
 
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2008, 05:25:24 PM »


[Continued from previous frame]

       Scientists, too, have challenged the belief in the independent existence of the soul by showing that human consciousness is dependent on and influenced by the brain. At death, the brain ceases to function and all forms of consciousness stop.  To scientists the cessation of all mental functions at death suggests it is highly unlikely that the mental functions ascribed to the soul can be carried out after death.
       These concerted attacks on dualism by Biblical scholars, church historians, philosophers, and scientists have led liberal and even some conservative Christians to reject the traditional dualistic view of human nature. In his book Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting,  John W. Cooper summarizes the outcome of this development, saying: “Liberals rejected it [dualism] as old-fashioned and no longer intellectually tenable.  And some conservatives Protestants argued that since we ought to follow the Scripture alone and not human traditions, if anthropological dualism is a human tradition not based on Scripture, we ought to reform our confessions and purge them of such accretions of the Greek mind.  The soul-body distinction has come under attack from many directions.”
 
Dualists  Are Concerned

       These developments have raised serious concerns on the part of those who find their traditional dualistic understanding of human nature severely challenged and undermined. Cooper’s book represents one of many attempts to reaffirm the traditional dualistic view by responding to the attacks on dualism. The reason for this response is well expressed by Cooper: “If what they [scholars] are saying is true, then two disturbing conclusions immediately follow.  First, a doctrine affirmed by most of the Christian church since its beginning is false.  A second consequence is more personal and existential–what millions of Christians believe will happen when they die is also a delusion.”
       There is no question that modern Biblical scholarship is causing great “existential anxiety” to millions of sincere Christians who believe in their disembodied souls going to heaven at death. Any challenge to traditionally cherished beliefs can be devastating. Yet, Christians who are committed to the normative authority of Scripture must be willing to reexamine traditional beliefs, and change them if proven to be unbiblical. 
       Strong emotional reactions are to be expected from those whose beliefs are challenged by Biblical scholarship. Oscar Cullmann, for example, found himself bitterly attacked by many who strongly objected to his book Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead? Incidentally,  the book is largely drawn from the Ingersoll Lecture on the Immortality of Man delivered in 1955 at Harvard University’s Andover Chapel. He wrote:  “No other publication of mine has provoked such enthusiasm or such violent hostility.”  In fact, the criticism became so intense and so many took offense at his statements that he deliberately decided to keep silent for a time.  I should add that Cullmann was not impressed by the attacks against his book because he claims they were based not on exegetical arguments, but on emotional, psychological, and sentimental considerations.
   
Tactics of Harassment

       In some cases, the reaction has taken the form of harassment.  Respected Canadian theologian Clark Pinnock (he wrote the Foreword to my book)  mentions some of the “tactics of harassment” used to discredit those evangelical scholars who have abandoned the traditional dualistic view of human nature and its related doctrine of eternal torment in a fiery hell. One of the tactics has been to associate such scholars with  liberals or sectarians like the Adventists.  Pinnock writes: “It seems that a new criterion for truth has been discovered which says that if Adventists or liberals hold any view, that view must be wrong.  Apparently a truth claim can be decided by its association and does not need to be tested by public criteria in open debate. Such an argument, though useless in intelligent discussion, can be effective with the ignorant who are fooled by such rhetoric.”
       Despite the tactics of harassment, the Biblical wholistic view of human nature which negates the natural immortality of the soul and, consequently, the eternal torment of the unsaved in hell, is gaining ground among evangelicals.  Its public endorsement by John R. W. Stott, a highly respected British theologian and popular preacher, is certainly encouraging the trend.  “In a delicious piece of irony,” writes Pinnock, “this is creating a measure of accreditation by association, countering the same tactics used against it.  It has become all but impossible to claim that only heretics and near-heretics [like Seventh-day Adventists are considered] hold the position, though I am sure some will dismiss Stott’s orthodoxy precisely on this ground.”
       Stott himself expresses anxiety over the divisive consequences of his new views in the evangelical community where he is a renowned leader.  He writes: “I am hesitant to have written these things, partly because I have great respect for longstanding tradition which claims to be a true interpretation of Scripture, and do not lightly set it aside, and partly because the unity of the worldwide evangelical community has always meant much to me.  But the issue is too important to be suppressed, and I am grateful to you (David Edwards) for challenging me to declare my present mind.  I do not dogmatize about the position to which I have come.  I hold it tentatively.  But I do plead for frank dialogue among evangelicals on the basis of Scripture.”
       Stott’s plea for a  “frank dialogue among evangelicals on the basis of Scripture” may be very difficult if not impossible, to realize. The reason is simple. Evangelicals are conditioned by their denominational traditional teachings, just as much as the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. In theory, they appeal to Sola Scriptura, but in practice, Evangelicals often  interpret Scripture in accordance with their traditional denominational teachings. 

[To be continued]
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2008, 05:26:43 PM »


[Continued from previous frame]

       If new Biblical research challenges traditional doctrines, in most cases, Evangelical churches will choose to stand for tradition rather than for Sola Scriptura.  The real difference between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics is that the latter are at least honest about the normative authority of their ecclesiastical tradition.
        To be an “Evangelical” means to uphold certain fundamental traditional doctrines without questioning.  Anyone who dares to question the Biblical validity of a traditional doctrine can become suspect as a “heretic.”  In a major conference held in 1989 to discuss what it means to be an evangelical, serious questions were raised as to whether such persons like John Stott or Philip Hughes should be considered evangelical, since they had adopted the view of conditional immortality and the annihilation of the unsaved.  The vote to exclude such theologians failed only narrowly.
        Why are evangelicals so adamant in refusing to reconsider the Biblical teachings on human nature and destiny? After all, they have taken the liberty of changing other old traditional teachings.  Perhaps one reason for their insistence on holding to the dualistic view is that it impacts on so many other doctrines.
        We noted earlier that what Christians believe about the make-up of human nature largely determines what they believe about human destiny. To abandon dualism also entails abandoning a whole cluster of doctrines resulting from it.  This may be called  “the domino effect.” If one doctrine falls, several others fall as well.  To clarify this point, we briefly consider some of the doctrinal and practical implications of classical dualism. This should alert the reader to its complex ramifications.
_______

Source: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/endtimeissues/et_171.htm

Note: I would recommend enthusiastically Dr. Bacchiocchi’s book. It is sufficient by itself alone to destroy all the sophistry of those who come up with the proclamation of such a false doctrine as that of immortality of the soul, which doesn’t put anybody closer to Jesus Christ (and we prove that), rather just brings terrible notions of pagan origin to whoever accepts that first devil's lie.


What Happens When We Die? Christopher Lee Thinks He Knows, But Does He?

       First, again, as I said in the beginning, it’s amazing how these former SDA’s forget so fast what they have learned as members of the SDA Church as to the REAL meaning of our doctrines. They adopt so easily the distorted views of our opponents, with whom they gladly allied themselves. We DON’T teach soul sleep, and we DON’T teach that “spirit” means BREATH and that is all. “Insisting that pneuma/ruach means ‘breath’ in the Bible violates the Christian concept of God’s being”, pontificates Mr. Christopher Lee, self proclaimed “theology junkie” (as his biographical data brings at the end of his article) violating, on his part, the ethics of not distorting the teaching of others.
       To refresh Mr. Lee’s memory, how about this table which shows the different meanings for the terms “soul” and “spirits” in the Bible?

[See the table to understand the meaning of the terms “soul” and “spirit” at the end of this discussion]

[To be continued]
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2008, 05:28:59 PM »


[Continued from previous frame]

Missed Foundations
       
       I am not an engineer or architect, but I think there is no way of building a three-storied building starting from the 2nd floor. I think that everything, in construction terms, has to begin from foundation on. . .
       It’s incredible how those who want to define man’s nature and destine forget that obvious and logical point. They miss completely the beginning of man’s history, how God created the first human beings, preferring to speculate here and there, by the middle and end of the Bible regarding what is the correct mode of afterlife.
       But that is a losing game, for the Bible doesn’t teach that any “immortal soul” is included as an “ingredient” in the “formula” of man’s composition.
       Nothing, absolutely, confirms the idea of immortality of the soul by the simple reading of the objective and simple text of man’s creation in Genesis. On the contrary, there we read that the “breath of life” of both man and animals is the same. Let’s see some texts regarding that:

       “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die”. —Gen. 6:17.

       “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.”—Gen. 7:15.

       So, what Solomon says much later on is no novelty, no mere philosophical ruminations of his in a pessimistic mood on man’s condition, as some surmise:

       “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence lieabove a beast: for all is vanity.  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”— Ecl. 3:9-21.

       Possession of the “breath of life” doesn’t bring by itself immortality because, on the occasion of death, the “breath of life” is reintegrated to nature, or returns do God, as the same Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
       What returns to God is not a human immortal soul, but the breath of life granted by God to transmit life. It’s is compared to God’s Spirit by Job: “If [God] gather unto himself his spirit [ruach] and his breath [neshamah]; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” (Job 34:14-15).
       The parallelism of language indicates that the breath of God is His Spirit transmitter of life. And notice that the “spirit [breath]” of ALL men, not only of the saved ones, is what goes to God.
       Notice also that the same author of Genesis, Moses, was the writer of Job, as is part of the Jewish tradition. And in Job, what we find is a lethal blow on these theories of immortality of the soul. See the following Job texts 14:7-14 (he compares death with a dried up river and a drained lake) and 19:25-27 (he expresses his hope to see the Redeemer, not when he died and his supposed soul went to heaven, but when He “stand at the latter day upon the earth” as he had his resurrection.
       As long as the “breath of life” remains in men, they are “living souls”. When, however, the breath is gone, they become dead souls. This explains why the Bible often refers to human death as the death of soul (Lev. 19:28; 21:1, 11; 22:4; Num. 5:2; 6:6,11; 9:6, 7, 10; 19:11, 13; Hag. 2:13).
       Before discussing what we find by the middle and the end of Human history, let’s see a very encompassing questionnaire that I have submitted to believers in the immortality of the soul and never got consistent and specific, clear, to the point answers


10 SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE BIBLE TEACHING ON MAN’S NATURE

1 – Why didn’t Moses, in his detailed report of man’s creation, leave any hint of an “immortal soul” as an essential component of human’s life, exclusive of his existence at Creation?

Note: That would be the right moment to deal with the subject, since Moses offers so many details of the divine acts in the Creation work in general, and of man’s formation, in particular.

2 – Why does Moses employ the same language (exact words) for “living soul”, both regarding man and the animals (compare Gen.2:7 with 1:20 and Lev. 11:46)?

Note: Translators of some Bible versions translated the Hebrew words nephesh hayyah as “living creature” when referring to the animals, however, there isn’t the least difference. It is exactly the language Moses used to deal with “living soul” referring to man.

3 – Why doesn’t Moses make a difference between man’s breath of life and that of the animals, treating them on the same basis, even utilizing the same words (Gen. 2:7; 1:30, 6:17)?

Note: The breath of life cannot represent something immaterial, immortal, that survives matter because that is not the Bible definition for “soul”, and never such a word comes modified by the adjectives “immortal” or “eternal” throughout the Bible.

4 – How can one prove that the fact that God blew particularly the life breath into man turns it into an “immortal soul”, when there isn’t the least information about that by the author, which would be of very much importance to define human nature?

Note:  The detail of a “separate”, “private” creation of man, compared to that of the animals, is a very weak “evidence” in favor of the dualistic view because the detailing of man’s creation involves the main character of God’s work, besides that of the woman. The animals are mere co-stars in the scenery, which pictures the divine preoccupation with the being created in His image and likeness, something that doesn’t characterize the animals. Besides, there is no description of God breathing the breath of life in the woman.
 
5 – How can one prove that the fact that God blew the breath of life particularly in man makes that an “immortal soul”, when there is clear information, both in the creation report and millennia later, in the words of wise man Solomon, that the same breath of life is attributed to the animals (see Ecl. 3:19-21)?

Note: Solomon engages himself in a profound reflection on the human condition and shows that “everything is vanity”, since not even in death man takes an advantage over the animals. If he believed in the immortality of the soul, he would not have employed such language to avoid ambiguity and to not convey materialistic notions. But even his description of man in death, with the removal of the breath of life, is similar to the way the psalmist refers to the death of the animals (compare Ecl. 12:7 with Psalm 104:25-29).

[To be Continued]
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2008, 05:30:06 PM »


[Continued from previous frame]

6 – Why would man need an immortal soul, since he was not planned to die, according to the original project of God’s creation, rather would live eternally as a physical being, in a physical paradise (as would also be the case of the animals, by the way. . .)?

Note: Sin is an intruder in this planet, which brought physical and spiritual death to man. But the divine “contingency plan” is the final resurrection, a measure taken AFTER sin, as part of His restoring plan. Resurrection integrates the serpent’s “head crush” in view of the conflict between good and evil (Gen. 3:15). Victory on death occurs due to the resurrection of the dead, not to the fact that the individual overcomes it for possessing a spiritual element that prevails over death (see 1 Cor. 15:52-55).

7 – When exactly that “immortal soul” is introduced into the living being? Is it when the egg is fertilized? Is it when the baby leaves the mother’s womb and breathes by the first time, since the parallel “breath of life/immortal soul” is established?
 
Note: The difficulty in establishing the beginning of the possession of that “immortal soul” is immense, especially when the dualists link directly “breath of life/immortal soul”. For the fetus DOESN’T BREATHE in the uterus, being immersed in fluids until the mother brings it out in birth.
 
8 – Since Moses is considered by many scholars and by the Jewish tradition as the author of the very ancient book of Job, doesn’t it seem strange that in such book he doesn’t leave the least clue of a dualistic notion, instead he pictures the patriarch expressing a holistic view, not a dualistic one (see following note)?
 
Note:  The book of Job offers a mortal blow on the dualistic notion. The patriarch likens death to a river that gets dry and a lake that has its waters drained, and when he refers directly to being with God, he speaks of the time when the Redeemer “will stand upon the Earth”, without leaving the least idea of a soul going to encounter Him (see 14:7-14 and 19:25-27).

9 – Where exactly is that “immortal soul” located? Since the parallel “breath of life/immortal soul” is established, and Job declares at a certain point  “as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils” (Job 27:3), is each one’s nose the location of that “immortal soul”?

Note: If the parallel “breath of life/immortal soul” is valid, this soul really leaves and gets back into the system, at least in large measure, all the time, leaving as “contaminated” (carbonic gas) and entering new breath of another substance (oxygen to “purify” the blood). That seems a very strange thing to be something fluidic that has conscience, thus remaining forever after death.

10 – Isn’t it a tremendous coincidence that all pagan peoples always had as their ideological characteristic the belief in the immortality of the soul, even attributing souls and spirits to animals or even inanimate things, such as forests, lakes, volcanoes?
 
Note:  There are no news of any pagan people, from this time or the past, that renounced to their belief in “souls” and “spirits”, to adopt the belief that “a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28, 29).

Nothing Also by the Middle of Human History

       We’ve seen how at the beginning of the history and formation of man no “immortal soul” appears as an constitutive element of the nature of the being created “in God’s image and likeness”.  What God’s Word reveals to us is that God formed man from the dust, breathed in his nostrils the “breath of life”, and man BECAME a “living soul”. It doesn’t say that he RECEIVED a soul of any type.
       Reinforcing the truth that the breath of life of man and animals is the same, we also have this important text in Gen. 1:30:
 
       “And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given  every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

       The expression “wherein there is life” is not very accurate according to the original. It should read, “where there is living soul [nephesh hayyah], which is confirmed by the LXX, that has it as psychen zoes and the Latin Vulgata, which brings anima vivens, exactly the same language found in Gen. 2:7.
       We will also see how in the description of one of the last acts of the human history drama—the resurrection of the dead—nothing is said regarding immortal souls coming from wherever to return to a body. It’s strange that in the detailed description of Apostle Paul, both in 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff and 1 Corinthians 15, as well as in Christ’s own teaching regarding it (as in John  5:25-30) there never appears this element and no hint of an “immortal soul” is perceived.
       However, what does the Bible present between the beginning and the end, regarding the theme of the resurrection? Let’s us see a very significant passage of the prophet Ezekiel who, under inspiration, describes an event of resurrection—the famous vision of the valley of dried bones. Even though having a symbolic meaning, it reports something very concrete regarding man’s formation:
     
      “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about:,  and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.  And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.  Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.  Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.  So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered,  them above: but there was no breath in them.  Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four,  winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding,  great army.  Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.  Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves. -- Eze. 37:1-12”.

       It’s important to compare different translations of the text to remove any doubt of meaning of terms. The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text, by the Jewish Publication Society of America, as well as the New International Version speak of “breath”, instead of “spirit”, regarding the return of the last component to transmit life to the set of “very dry” bones, which are attached to nerves, muscles, skin. Finally, the receiving of that “breath” is the final touch to transform that miraculous reconstitution in human beings, living and active.
       The Brazilian version of the Today’s English Version, by the Bible Society of Brazil also speaks of breath and even, “mortal man, prophesize to the wind . . . to blow on these dead bodies so that they come back to life”. A footnote explains: “Wind: the same Hebrew word can have the meaning of spirit, or breath, or respiration or wind”. This Hebrew word is ruach, the same found in Eccl. 12:7—“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
       To reinforce even more that conception of the restoration of the dead ones to life, we have these words in the text transcribed from prophet Ezekiel:

[To be continued]
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2008, 05:30:58 PM »


[Continued from previous frame]

       “I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.”

       Thus, the basic elements that form this army under the command of the Lord proceed from the sepulchers, with no mention to souls coming from wherever in the Universe. The breath is added to the reconstituted components of flesh and bones, and life is restored. Once more we can realize—no mention to any immortal soul being reintegrated to the beings so that they live.
       Why, if we asked someone who believe in the immortality of the soul to describe how a resurrection would occur, no doubt the component “immortal soul” would be even the most important of all to transmit life to who was dead. However, nowhere in the Scriptures, be it the beginning, the middle or the end of the Bible report, there is such a thing.
       That is why when Jesus talked to the sisters of Lazarus, sympathizing with them for the loss of their brother, He didn’t give them consolation commenting about his being in the glory, as is the popular belief. The emphasis of their conversation was the FUTURE resurrection of the dead throughout chapter 11 of John. Thus, Jesus said to leave no doubt:

       “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

       Once more we see the emphasis—not on life eternal depending on any immaterial element in man, but in believing in Christ to resurrect, for only so “though he were dead, yet shall he live”.

[We have another questionnaire—“10 Questions to Those Who Believe in the Immortality of the Soul”—that can be found as the first study in this topic (page 1)].

Nothing at the End of Human History

       If nothing appears in the Scriptures indicating the inclusion of an “immortal soul” in the creation of man, what to say of the end? The Bible presents the final encounter of Christ with His redeemed ones, and Paul gives details as how the resurrection of the dead will be. Neither in the words of Christ, nor in the detailed explanations of Paul on this final encounter of Christ and the saved ones there appears the least hint of immortal souls coming from wherever in the immense universe to regain a body and return to life. Let’s see some key-texts regarding this:

       “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”— João 5:25, 28 e 29.

       “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told,  you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”— João 14:1-3.

       One can see clearly by these words that the saved ones “shall hear his voice” and then will live. They were in their graves, not in heaven or any other location in the universe. To say that only the bodies were in the graves makes no sense within the general tenor of what is said. Jesus speaks of INDIVIDUALS, not of body of individuals. And He promised that the place He would prepare for them would be available to these resurrected in the resurrection of life. He doesn’t say they would occupy their abodes when they died and their souls went to heaven, but when He returned so that His words were fulfilled: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
       All indicates that this being together with Christ occur, not when the souls go to heaven at death, but when Christ comes with the angels to gather His chosen ones, as another Bible text puts very clear:

       “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”. — Matthew 24:30, 31.

       The apostle Paul confirms that stressing his hope to obtain the eternal reward “at that day” of Christ’s return, not when his soul supposedly went to heaven at his death:

       “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” — Philippians 3:20, 21.

       He confirms this great expectation of his in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, as he mentions that the time of his departure was near:

       “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love, his appearing”.

       In the detailed description of the real last happenings of human history, with the resurrection of the dead and the encounter with the Lord, the perspective is confirmed that only then the resurrected individuals (not merely their bodies) will meet their Savior, jointly with the entire community of the other redeemed ones.

       “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep, in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we, which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet, the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”.—1 Thessalonians. 4:13-18.

       And in 1 Corinthians 15, practically the entire chapter is dedicated to that theme. Let’s see some of its significant verses:

      “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” — 1 Corinthians 15:51-55.   

       It becomes very clear by these words that there is no notion of souls coming from heaven or wherever it might be to regain a body. Besides, the language of a sounding trumpet, voice of the Lord to wake up “those who sleep” leaves no room to imagine souls coming, which would supposedly be fully awake, gathering their bodies from the dust to, then come out of this condition through these solemn convocations. And the resurrection is what means the defeat of death, not the fact that souls, like a “friendly ghost”, leaves the cadaver, prevailing in eternal existence. In this case, the immortality of the soul doctrine contradicts the Pauline statement that “death was swallowed in victory”. And this victory is guaranteed by the resurrection of the dead, not the “immortality” factor contained within the “soul” of an individual.
       Verses 12-19 of 1 Corinthians 15 apply a mortal blow on this dualistic thesis:

       “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and [/u]your faith is also vain[/u]. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that, the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep, in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

       And reinforcing what is thus said, we have vs. 32:

       “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.”

       Let’s observe well the implications of what is stated:

       a) There will be resurrection of the dead because Christ Himself was risen, as evidence of such possibility.
       b)  Had not been for the resurrection of Christ, the preaching of the gospel and the faith of the believers would be in vain.
       c) And were not for the fact of the resurrection, confirmed and guaranteed by that of Christ Himself, “they also which are fallen asleep, in Christ are perished”.
       d) If they “perished”, that is because the resurrection would not have happened, and the preaching of the gospel was in “vain”, since those who died believing in Christ would not be enjoying life, but dead in the dust. Also, according to vs. 32, the best option would be profit hedonistically from this life: “let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.”

       These texts clearly are a refutation of the theory that those who are “asleep in Christ” are found somewhere, already guaranteed for eternity. Not at all, were not for the fact of the resurrection, highlighted by the context, they would have perished. The emphasis of the entire context undoubtedly in on the dominant theme of the chapter—the resurrection of the dead on the day of Jesus’ return.
       Paul indicates his desire “to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil. 1:23) would materialize, not when his soul headed toward heaven at his death, but at the occasion of the resurrection of the dead. It’s strange that his expectation expressed at the beginning of Philippians involved the possession of an “immortal soul”, this doesn’t deserve further elaboration in the same epistle, for in Chap. 3, vs. 20, and in the detailed description of the final encounter of the redeemed ones with the Savior en 1 Thessalonians 4, vs. 13ff, and throughout the entire Chap. 15 of 1 Corinthians.



=====

Corrected as requested. - Daryl :)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2008, 11:23:51 AM by Daryl Fawcett »
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2008, 05:31:55 PM »


[Continued from previous frame]

       “I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.”

       Thus, the basic elements that form this army under the command of the Lord proceed from the sepulchers, with no mention to souls coming from wherever in the Universe. The breath is added to the reconstituted components of flesh and bones, and life is restored. Once more we can realize—no mention to any immortal soul being reintegrated to the beings so that they live.
       Why, if we asked someone who believe in the immortality of the soul to describe how a resurrection would occur, no doubt the component “immortal soul” would be even the most important of all to transmit life to who was dead. However, nowhere in the Scriptures, be it the beginning, the middle or the end of the Bible report, there is such a thing.
       That is why when Jesus talked to the sisters of Lazarus, sympathizing with them for the loss of their brother, He didn’t gave them consolation commenting about his being in the glory, as is the popular belief. The emphasis of their conversation was the FUTURE resurrection of the dead throughout chapter 11 of John. Thus, Jesus said to leave no doubt:

       “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

       Once more we see the emphasis—not on life eternal depending on any immaterial element in man, but in believing in Christ to resurrect, for only so “though he were dead, yet shall he live”.

[We have another questionnaire—“10 Questions to Those Who Believe in the Immortality of the Soul”—that can be found as the first study in this topic (page 1)].

Nothing at the End of Human History

       If nothing appears in the Scriptures indicating the inclusion of an “immortal soul” in the creation of man, what to say of the end? The Bible presents the final encounter of Christ with His redeemed ones, and Paul gives details as how the resurrection of the dead will be. Neither in the words of Christ, nor in the detailed explanations of Paul on this final encounter of Christ and the saved ones there appears the least hint of immortal souls coming from wherever in the immense universe to regain a body and return to life. Let’s see some key-texts regarding this:

       “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”— John 5:25, 28 e 29.

       “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told,  you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”— John 14:1-3.

       One can see clearly by these words that the saved ones “shall hear his voice” and then will live. They were in their graves, not in heaven or any other location in the universe. To say that only the bodies were in the graves makes no sense within the general tenor of what is said. Jesus speaks of INDIVIDUALS, not of body of individuals. And He promised that the place He would prepare for them would be available to these resurrected in the resurrection of life. He doesn’t say they would occupy their abodes when they died and their souls went to heaven, but when He returned so that His words were fulfilled: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
       All indicates that this being together with Christ occur, not when the souls go to heaven at death, but when Christ comes with the angels to gather His chosen ones, as another Bible text puts very clear:

       “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”. — Matthew 24:30, 31.

       The apostle Paul confirms that stressing his hope to obtain the eternal reward “at that day” of Christ’s return, not when his soul supposedly went to heaven at his death:

       “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” — Philippians 3:20, 21.

       He confirms this great expectation of his in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, as he mentions that the time of his departure was near:

       “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love, his appearing”.

       In the detailed description of the real last happenings of human history, with the resurrection of the dead and the encounter with the Lord, the perspective is confirmed that only then the resurrected individuals (not merely their bodies) will meet their Savior, jointly with the entire community of the other redeemed ones.

       “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep, in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we, which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet, the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”.—1 Thessalonians. 4:13-18.

       And in 1 Corinthians 15, practically the entire chapter is dedicated to that theme. Let’s see some of its significant verses:

      “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” — 1 Corinthians 15:51-55.   

       It becomes very clear by these words that there is no notion of souls coming from heaven or wherever it might be to regain a body. Besides, the language of a sounding trumpet, voice of the Lord to wake up “those who sleep” leaves no room to imagine souls coming, which would supposedly be fully awake, gathering their bodies from the dust to, then come out of this condition through these solemn convocations. And the resurrection is what means the defeat of death, not the fact that souls, like a “friendly ghost”, leaves the cadaver, prevailing in eternal existence. In this case, the immortality of the soul doctrine contradicts the Pauline statement that “death was swallowed in victory”. And this victory is guaranteed by the resurrection of the dead, not the “immortality” factor contained within the “soul” of an individual.
       Verses 12-19 of 1 Corinthians 15 apply a mortal blow on this dualistic thesis:

       “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and [/u]your faith is also vain[/u]. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that, the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep, in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

       And reinforcing what is thus said, we have vs. 32:

       “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.”

       Let’s observe well the implications of what is stated:

       a) There will be resurrection of the dead because Christ Himself was risen, as evidence of such possibility.
       b)  Had not been for the resurrection of Christ, the preaching of the gospel and the faith of the believers would be in vain.
       c) And were not for the fact of the resurrection, confirmed and guaranteed by that of Christ Himself, “they also which are fallen asleep, in Christ are perished”.
       d) If they “perished”, that is because the resurrection would not have happened, and the preaching of the gospel was in “vain”, since those who died believing in Christ would not be enjoying life, but dead in the dust. Also, according to vs. 32, the best option would be profit hedonistically from this life: “let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die.”

       These texts clearly are a refutation of the theory that those who are “asleep in Christ” are found somewhere, already guaranteed for eternity. Not at all, were not for the fact of the resurrection, highlighted by the context, they would have perished. The emphasis of the entire context undoubtedly in on the dominant theme of the chapter—the resurrection of the dead on the day of Jesus’ return.
       Paul indicates his desire “to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil. 1:23) would materialize, not when his soul headed toward heaven at his death, but at the occasion of the resurrection of the dead. It’s strange that his expectation expressed at the beginning of Philippians involved the possession of an “immortal soul”, this doesn’t deserve further elaboration in the same epistle, for in Chap. 3, vs. 20, and in the detailed description of the final encounter of the redeemed ones with the Savior en 1 Thessalonians 4, vs. 13ff, and throughout the entire Chap. 15 of 1 Corinthians.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 01:15:17 PM by Azenilto Brito »
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Azenilto Brito

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Re: The Wholistic View of Man’s Nature and Destiny—An Adventist Oddity?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2008, 05:33:05 PM »


IN THIS TABLE, HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THE BIBLE TERMS “SOUL” AND “SPIRIT”

The word ‘spirit (in Hebrew, neshamah or ruach; in  Greek pneuma) is utilized in the Bible
in different meanings, such as:


* Moral faculties, disposition, character, thought, feelings,  etc.: Psalm 51:10; Isaiah 19:14; Luke 1:17; 1 Corinthians 4:21; Philippians 1;27; James 3:16, etc.

* Energy, willingness, courage, mind: Genesis 45:27; Judges 15:19; Job 17:1; Psalm 143:7.

* Breath, current of air: Genesis 7:15, 22; Job 14:10; 27:3; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Lucas 8:55; Revelation 11:11.

* Life: Job 12:10; Revelation 13:15.

* Divine Power: Genesis 1:2; Isaiah 44:3; 61;1; 1 Corinthians 6:19.

* Angel: 2 Chronicles 18:18 a 20; Acts 8:26 e 29; Hebrews 1:13, 14 (compare with Psalm 8:5).

The word ‘soul’ (in Hebrew nephesh; in Greek psuchê) can be translated as:

* Life:  Genesis 9:4; 1 Kings 19:14; Job 6:11; Mark 3:4; Acts 20:10.

* Person: Genesis 46:27; Leviticus 17:12; Acts 7:14; 27:37.

* Heart: Exodus 23:9; Proverbs 23:7; Ephesians 6:6.

* Body: Numbers 6:6; 9:6.

* As a reflexive pronoun (like in “self” in “enjoy yourself”): Ecclesiastes 4:8; Luke 12:19 (cf. vs. 17).

IMPORTANT: Although there are all these different forms in which ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ are used, in no instance it is said that they mean “an abstract and immortal entity which survives the matter”. The word immortal is only once found in the Bible, and that in reference to the Divinity, in 1 Timothy 1:17 y 6:16: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever”.

No text in the entire Bible is found that speaks of either an immortal soul or immortal spirit.
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